DiNardo: All clergy, no matter their 'standing,' must protect children

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller


WASHINGTON (CNS) — The president
of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said June 20 that the all clergy in the
Catholic Church “have made a solemn promise to protect children and young
people from all harm.”

“This sacred charge applies to
all who minister in the church, no matter the person’s high standing or long
service,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

He made the comments in a
statement issued in response to the announcement that Cardinal Theodore E.
McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, will no longer exercise any public
ministry after an allegation he abused a teenager 47 years ago was found

“This morning was a painful
reminder of how only through continued vigilance can we keep that promise” of protecting
children and young people, Cardinal DiNardo said, without mentioning Cardinal McCarrick by name. “My prayers are with all who
have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse. May they find healing in Christ’s
abundant love.”

He said the U.S. bishops’ “Charter
for the Protection of Children and Young People,” first approved in 2002, “outlines a process for addressing allegations, holding us accountable to our
commitment to protect and heal.”

He expressed gratitude to New
York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, “who has carried forward with clarity,
compassion for the victims, and a genuine sense of justice. With him, I express
my deep sadness, and on behalf of the church, I apologize to all who have been
harmed by one of her ministers.”

Cardinal McCarrick, who turns 88
July 7, was ordained a priest of the New York Archdiocese May 31, 1958. He was
named auxiliary bishop of New York in 1977. He was appointed the first bishop
of Metuchen, New Jersey, in 1981 and was named archbishop of Newark, New
Jersey, in 1986. He was installed as archbishop of Washington in 2001. He was
made a cardinal in Feb. 21, 2001, and retired as head of the Washington
Archdiocese May 16, 2006.

In his statement, Cardinal
McCarrick said that Cardinal Dolan had informed him “some months ago” of the
abuse allegation.

“While shocked by the report,
and while maintaining my innocence, I considered it essential that the charges
be reported to the police, thoroughly investigated by an independent agency and
given to the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York,” Cardinal McCarrick
said. “I fully cooperated in the process.”

He will no longer exercise any public ministry
“in obedience” to the Vatican, he said.

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